Selected Tasmanian rivers – extended season in May

We received our Inland Fishing Service annual fishing licence renewals this morning, and noticed a change in regulations…from May 2020, the lower sections of the South Esk catchment including the lower Meander, Macquarie, South Esk and Brumbys Creek will be open until the end of May. This brings these sections of lowland rivers into line with closure times on the mainland, which feature similar climatic conditions, and will offer anglers the chance of getting out in one of our most settled-weather months.

It’s hard to guess what these lowland river fisheries will fish like in May, but last season provided some clues. During quite a few inspections of the lower South Esk in May 2019, beatid mayfly continued to hatch, and we expect that great sight-nymphing conditions, along with some occasional ant falls will feature during May. Similarly on the lower Meander, where the odd dun continued to pop, sight-fishing opportunities should continue through May, with the addition of being able to target territorial browns willing to chase a baitfish imitation. The Lower Macquarie will be the most unpredictable, featuring colder flows from the Great Lake hydro scheme, but targeting undercut banks with streamers may bring out the big, territorial browns that rarely see the light of day during summer. More here https://www.ifs.tas.gov.au/the-rules/season-dates-and-times

Have a happy 2019/2020 season, it’s only one month to go šŸ™‚

 

Tasmanian fly fishing report – December 24, 2018

Mayflies and gum beetles have been the theme of December so far, along with sub-tropical low pressure systems and lots of easterlies! This has meant lots of rain in the east, and really good flows (sometimes too high!) down the two Esk rivers, and the granite streams.Ā Snowflake caddis falls have been brilliant.Ā The Mersey has also seen big rises most weeks, and has fishedĀ best onĀ rising-levels and featured morning and late afternoon hatches. Brumbys on the otherhand has had great levels, but was slow for Simone and I the other day, with little insect or fish movement during a short drift (once again this can be common during periods of lower pressure troughs). Our highlight has been the creeks, with some great fish coming to the dry fly (modified Coachman and Bruisers Bugs).

Peter and I spent a morning in the Western Lakes chasing tails this week, and found fish tailing for tadpoles, and more than happy to take a dry. The gum beetles from earlier in the month have slowed down, but there are plenty of duns and still the odd stonefly. We’d say that water levels in the back lakes are slightly higher than normal for early Summer, and the fish condition is great with an excellent mix of younger and older prime fish; Most of the older, potentially slabby fish have died off during the last winter which had harsher than normal spawning conditions so we are set for a good few seasons of fish size.

On the hydro lakes Little Pine and Woods are producing consistently with good hatches and great fish, while Pine Tier and Penstock have been popular on the windy days. Great Lake has been tough in the easterly weather, but fish condition and levels are good. Arthurs has even been producing fish in patches, all in excellent condition.

A big thanks to all of our customers new and old, and have a very happy Christmas and New Year. Dan, Simone and the RiverFly team.

Looking for rises, Brumbys Creek

 

 

 

 

Trout fishing Tasmania report – August

A wild rainbow on The Earthworm fly.

The Tasmanian season is well intoĀ a third week, and the fishing has been great. Well-timed rains on opening day produced brilliant flood-fishing on some of the smaller lakes, with RiverFly customers managing two days’ with double-digit catches. Even cooler is that many of these fish took the dry,Ā including the 1864 Fastwater Dun. Among otherĀ lakes Bronte, Four Springs, Penstock, Woods and Lake Leake have all been fishing well, with Fuzzle Buggers, 1864 Earthworm, stick caddisĀ and Fur Flies doing well.Ā  Over in the north-west, Talbots Lagoon has also been popular, but the usual late run of spawning fish has only just finished. A few more weeks till this water really fires.

The streams have also had a good start, and the headwaters of the EskĀ have been producing clear water and dry fly action, while the top of theĀ Meander, Liffey and St Pats have produced good nymphing. Lower down and the Mersey is patchy on nymphs, the Meander above Deloraine is going well despite high water, and whitebait is starting to show at the mouth of quite a few estuaries. Fly of the week has been our blue nymph, affectionally nicknamed the ‘Silver Bullet’.

Over the coming fortnight expect frogs to show up at Four Springs and Talbots, galaxia feeders on the rocks at Tooms and in the highlands, and some serious pre-hatch nymph action on the streams.

Tip: Target smaller lakes immediately after the next heavy rain. With the ground already saturated, earthworms will begin to wash down gutters and drains, mixing with frogs to create some great edgewater action.

Frog time is almost here! Pic by Peter Broomhall.

 

Mid-season rundown from RiverFly 1864

The season so farā€¦

Spring and early summer river fishing has been very dynamic. River levels were extremely reactive to rainfall (rising quickly), which meant taking each day as it comes from a fishing-planning perspective. With the extra flows and floods, the average fish size in the Mersey and Meander was bigger than previous seasons, with some real thumpers being landed. The South Esk has had high levels right up until Christmas, with a new cohort of young fish up to 2lbs working small black spinners and damsels most days, and some beautiful clean gravel runs created since the high flows of winter. Our best flies included our French Nymph variant, and Chartreuse Caddis nymph, followed by the Fastwater Dun.

The small streams of the north-east are in the middle of the best season since 2013, with fish numbers back up to the usual high numbers. The big winter floods have restructured some of these small streams beautifully, lengthening the best pools by consolidating Ā smaller log jams that were previously found every ten metres or so, into single log jams and associated riffles every thirty metres or so. Snowflake caddis have generated terrific hatches, and itā€™s been dry fly all the way!Ā Our favourite flies have been the Scruffy (size 12) and Glister-bodied Parachute Coachman (size 14). The St Pats, North Esk, South Esk, Ringarooma and tributaries have all been excellent destinations, and fish in the 12-16 inch range are most common.

tasmania-jan-2016-josh-hutchins-3554low-res

The lakes of the Central Plateau are looking great, and almost un-recognisable compared to this time last year. Great Lake has filled something like seven-metres, and nearly all other Hydro Lakes spilled over winter. Beetle falls have driven the fishing on-and-off since early November, with mayfly nymphs and hatches also becoming prominent by early December. Little Pine and Great Lake are both having good seasons for fish condition, and the Ostrich Herl nymph has proved deadly on Penstock and the Pine. Arthurs is still sporadic, but producing some excellent quality fish to those willing to walk the edges and cover some ground.

The Western Lakes were equally wet, with early spring water levels experienced up to the first week of December. This led to an excellent and lengthy frog season, but delayed the mayfly season from a normal mid-November start, to an early December start. The Nineteen Lagoons has been predictably popular, with the lakes and lagoons of the Little Pine River system performing the best to date. The road to the Julian Lakes is expected to open close to Australia Day, conditions permitting, and the Talinah track is currently open.

Fishing from our wilderness huts in the Western Lakes has featured all the weather imaginable, from balmy blue sky days through to snow. Some unusually large fish in the main lakes have been quite exciting (up to six pounds), but haveĀ proved hard to land amongst rocks and rushes. The younger year-classes have ranged from 2 Ā¾ to 4lbs, a great size. The random mixtures of frogs, beetles and midge on the menu has made fly selection has been quite variable, but one of our big terrestrial dries has been really successful (itā€™s a bit of a prototype weā€™ve worked on for a couple seasons), as has the Pheasant Tail Black Spinner, and Fuzzle Buggers fished to tailers in the waves. We canā€™t wait to host head to a new water that weā€™ve discovered a few kilometres from camp, after recently locating a sneaky shortcut to get there.

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A leaping Western Lakes brown trout, polaroided 400 metres from RiverFly Wilderness Huts. Pic by J Laverty.

An extra positive from our wilderness camp this season has been the increased presence of Tasmanian devils this year! With several sightings and lots of scats around camp, guide Greg French should have known better than leave is wading boots out at night. The inquisitive devils certainly appreciated the offering, pinching a boot, which has not been seen again!

Predictions for summer and autumn 2017

River and lake levels are great, and predictions of a mild summer and autumn gives anglers heaps of options. The north-east streams will be our pick for the best river destinations, given the excellent caddis and mayfly hatches to date, and the general excellent state of the waterways. Lots of juvenile grasshoppers are also out and about along the meadow-streams, and given the fortnightly rainfalls currently, conditions have so far been excellent for a late, bumper hopper season. Thereā€™s nothing we love more than sight-fishing big hopper dries on the rivers!

Continued mayfly hatches, and consistent terrestrial falls should drive the fishing on the Central Plateau, and continued muggy weather will start to produce some brilliant daylight tailing on clouded days. Little Pine should continue to fish well, and Great Lake windlane ā€˜sharksā€™ will become more established.

Big fish love beetle falls, so weā€™ll also plan to hunt trophies from our wilderness Western Lakes camp as weather permits during January and February, along with focusing on the bread and butter dry-fly sight fishing that forms the mainstay of our wilderness trips. Contact us if you would like to join a trip.

Thanks for reading, and have a great 2017, from Daniel and Simone Hackett, and the RiverFly 1864 team.

Guided fly fishing, tuition, and destination flyshop ā€“ Sage, Scott, Patagonia, Simms and Buff dealer

RiverFly 1864 Hatch Chart – 27 August 2016

Here’s the latest Tasmanian fly fishing Hatch Chart, from RiverFly 1864. The frogs have started on Lake Leake, and despite heavy on-and-off snow they are close to the waterline on some of the 19 Lagoons. Sea-runners and bait are starting to aggregate in the Derwent and Mersey estuaries, and the small streams are still fishing well on the Bruisers Bug and other terrestrial dries. Have a great fortnight of fishing, the best of the springtime tailers, sea-runners and frog feeders are about to start!

Drop in for the best advice, and 100% Tasmanian tied flies. New Sage X and Patagonia Ultralight II boots in stock.

fly fishing Tasmania hatch chart

fly fishing Tasmania hatch chart